Parents who really want their children to grow in love for and commitment to Mass are actually parents who are determined to ensure their kids go off to college loving vegetables. Because they are aware that their child’s best opportunity for adult physical and spiritual health will come out of the habits they built in childhood. Those kinds of Parents do more than threaten to take away dessert if the children didn’t consume the vegetables.
Likewise, a parent who wants to raise churchgoing children will work hard to make the liturgy meaningful. They must keep on talking about the Mass with their children before they go to mass each time. They should always whisper explanations during key parts, they should discuss the homily afterward, they should always play Liturgical songs on their iPod or cellphone. And if it seems that the Mass they normally attend does not particularly suit the child well, they might try a Mass with a different priest or a different fashion of music that will grab a child’s attention and imagination.
The world is a busy and stressful place. Children need to learn how to relax and find the Holy Mass interesting. If the children watch a priest prepare the altar for the Eucharist in a video, it will interest them more to be present at the Mass. Because seeing a movie is a thorough process, done with complete attention and care for the details to be grabbed.
Children sometimes, go to church not just for themselves but to be present for others who need to see them there on a given Sunday. We might be ignorant on who in our community is struggling, who may need our handshake at the sign of peace, or our conversation after Mass, or just the safety that emanates from the feeling of a full church. Because children are quick to notice their peers in church. They see their classmates at church and that is a huge benefit, and they are always eager to go for Mass. They will then see they are not the only ones who go to church. And this will make the children ask questions like, “when is the family going to Mass?” and not to ask “if the family is going to Mass?”.
If you want your child to participate actively in the Holy liturgy, you as a parent would first of all lead by an example. If you want your children to behave in church, you have to lead by example. Everything you do, they will do too. This means not talking, texting on your phone, falling asleep and making to-do lists during church. After all, if you can’t sit still and pay attention during mass, how do you expect your kids to do so?
Lastly, bear in mind that the outcome of your hard work by keeping your children going to church will help them become well-adjusted adults with a stronger faith and testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ.